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Hudson Valley

41st Senate Seat too close to call

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Albany/HV: 41st Senate Seat too close to call
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Veteran state lawmaker Steve Saland may have been forced into early retirement if unofficial election tallies hold true. As our John Wagner explains, a third party candidate might have played the role of spoiler.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- It's not over, yet, but for Senator Steve Saland, these may be his last days in state office. His Democrat opponent is already beginning to search for staff, focused on Albany.

"I'm starting to receive calls and requests from constituents about help that they need, services they're looking to have and starting to lay into place what I can do to help them," said Democrat candidate Terry Gipson.

Even though around 10,000 absentee and affidavit ballots have not been counted yet, with 1,600 votes separating Gipson and Saland, Democrats have no doubt who will end up in Albany.

"It's really almost impossible for Steve to win," said Democrat Elections Commissioner Fran Knapp. "The Senate Republicans want to hold on power, so they're going to delay, delay, delay."

A number of Republicans are upset with Di Carlo for making this a three way race, leading a two prong attack on Saland and siphoning fourteen percent of the vote away from the incumbent.

"If Mr. Di Carlo really felt that he was going to be an advocate for reducing taxes in New York State, he certainly should have shied away and backed out of this race," said Michael McCormack, the chair of the Dutchess County Republican Committee.

"It made for a campaign that really got the issues out on the table, each of us had our own points of view, we were all passionate about them," said Terry Gipson.

But Di Carlo's campaign replied with a statement, "If Saland loses his seat, it is because he turned his back on his constituents, and the conservative principles on which he had supposedly run for the last thirty years." They say Republican politicians have stopped standing up for Republican ideals--including traditional marriage. But Democrats say their win came with perseverance.

"He has worked so hard on this campaign for over a year and a half, he's met almost everybody he could meet in Dutchess County," said Knapp.

The absentee ballot count begins on the 15th, but elections officials say with lawyers involved, this could drag into January.

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